1. Editorial

Well here we are at the start of the ‘true’ Millennium. I know we claimed that our Millennium issue containing the first scientific paper to appear in 2000 appeared at the start of the third Millennium, but several people have sent Christmas cards making it clear that they at least think 2001 is the important year. No, it doesn’t matter really, but I suppose if you want to be pedantic, you can argue for 2001 rather than 2000.

Just after the last edition we have a request from a reader about the relationship between the universally used strong and weak descriptions of bands and the absorbance. I took advice and have tried to come up with an answer.

Very recently, I was talking to one of the postgrads at Southampton about his work on the use of infrared in identifying fibres in old tapestries. I suggested diamond ATR ad the use of polarisation. I thought it might be of interest to write up my advice and this forms the second article in this edition. Perhaps some of you have more experience in this field – if so please tell.

Our manufacturer’s Announcement Section continues to improve. You will have noted that the announcements are very different from those in competitor paper journals. We offer manufacturer’s space and encourage them to include many pictures and diagrams – if possible in colour. This can cause a problem – publicity managers often don’t have the copy to generate the article, but when they do – the result can be really worthwhile. A good example is to be found in this edition – from two collaborating companies Netzsch and Bruker. In the form of a paper it gives original and rigorous applications.

Come on you manufacturers – IJVS make NO CHARGE for this service – why not contact the Editorial Office and offer us an announcement?

In the submitted papers section we have two papers, both from the States. The first from Dr Xhiyong Xu and his colleagues at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, on quantitative mineral analysis based on meticulous sample preparation and KBr discs. The second is very different – it describes Pattern recognition methods in identifying spectra and comes from a group at Cooper Union in New York.

Following up on my rant in the last Edition about the use of the ENGLISH language, I have corresponded with colleagues abroad. A German contact who has worked in Scotland and speaks excellent English obviously doesn’t see much of a problem. Simplification of english spelling and useage is helpful he thinks and a contributor to Dear Readers obviously agrees. I also asked him about a recent trend to drop the “umlaut” in German replacing ‘ü’ with ‘ue’ etc and I was surprised that this change seems to be acceptable in Germany. I suppose this is the point – we ENGLISH are an arrogant lot! 

To bring you more up-to-date – today on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, there was a discussion on WEBLISH and its effect on the language. I leave you to imagine the linguistic horrors of WEBLISH, although I suspect users of cellphone text messages and frequent e-mail users will need no imagination!

And finally…. Valentine’s Day!

This new edition of the Journal celebrates the great feast on February 14th. I know many of you readers are struggling postgrads, so I asked my Aunty Flo to come up with a really detailed programme so that you can cook a meal and entertain your beloved on Wednesday evening. I insisted that Aunty should assume that you lot couldn’t boil an egg and were hard up!

I’ve tried it out and I didn’t set anything on fire. Let’s be honest preparing a meal for the beloved is far worse that submitting oneself to a PhD Viva but it is much more fun!